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How to Date Billy Walsh’s Sebastian Croft and Charithra Chandran on an ‘alternative’ gay ending, Heartstopper, and Bridgerton

Exclusive: Sebastian Croft dishes on a "sexy" kiss he shared with co-star Tanner Buchanan

By Alastair James

How to Date Billy Walsh
How to Date Billy Walsh stars Sebastian Croft and Charithra Chandran (Image: Attitude)

Sebastian Croft and Charithra Chandran, the stars of How to Date Billy Walsh, have teased an “alternative” gay ending to the coming-of-age rom-com. They’ve also spoken about how the film is “quietly making a stand” with its LGBTQ+ representation.

The coming-of-age rom-com debuts on Prime Video on Friday (5 April). As well as the Heartstopper and Bridgerton stars, the film also features Tanner Buchanan, Nick Frost, and Lucy Punch. It sees Croft star as Archie, who is head over heels in love with his childhood best friend Amelia (Chandran). His plans to tell his paramour of his feelings are dashed by the arrival of US transfer student, Billy Walsh (Buchanan)

Speaking exclusively to Attitude the lead stars discussed the film’s LGBTQ+ representation, which sees queer characters featured but treated like everyone else.

“It was a really welcoming and lovely film set,” started Sebastian, known to many as Ben Hope in Heartstopper‘s first two seasons. “And even if you pause a frame and see the supporting artists that we have, a lot of the guys in the school were wearing dresses. It was cool and it’s lovely for us to be doing a rom-com that’s very traditional in many ways and very heteronormative, and yet to feel like there is still so much representation in the film. That was exciting for us, I think.”

Chandran then said the film is very “quietly making a stand” when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation. “We’re saying this matters to us,” she continued. “This is representing the modern world. This is representing the world we want to live in. That is like such a powerful stand without making it a really big deal.” The Bridgerton star went on to say that “the film does a really good job of normalising [that] this is a really fun, vibrant, diverse community. And it’s not a big deal. It’s just the world.”

“Somewhere out there is an alternative universe where Archie and Billy end up together”

Sebastian also shared that he and his male co-star, Tanner, had a “spark” off camera. “On the final day, he came and I was doing a scene that he wasn’t even meant to be in. I thought he’d gone home and he came and kissed me on camera. So, somewhere out there is an alternative universe where Archie and Billy end up together,” he said cheekily. Chandran, who said it was a “sexy” moment, teased it could be an idea for a sequel.

Elsewhere the How to Date Billy Walsh stars also discussed paying tribute to coming-of-age films and rom-coms like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and She’s All That. They also discussed the upcoming third seasons of Heartstopper and Bridgerton. Sebastian and Charithra have confirmed previously they won’t be in season three of Heartstopper and Bridgerton respectively.

Tanner Buchanan as Billy Walsh, Sebastian Croft as Archie, Charithra Chandran as Amelia
Tanner Buchanan, Sebastian Croft, Charithra Chandran in How to Date Billy Walsh (Image: Prime Video)

Asked if he’d be open to returning to Heartstopper if it was done right Sebastian said being a part of the show had been an “incredibly special experience.” But, in what will be disappointing news for fans, he said “probably not” to coming back as Ben. At the end of Heartstopper season two Ben apologised to Charlie (Joe Locke) for how he treated him. He also admitted to struggling with his sexuality but was rebuffed by Charlie and left to walk away.

Echoing past comments on the matter Sebastian told Attitude: “I feel really proud of the way that we ended Ben’s character and his arc. And so I wouldn’t want to go back from a story perspective because I feel like that’s been left where it needs to. But I’d love to go back in terms of working with everyone. It was such a special experience. Hopefully, I’ll get to work with lots of the same people again at some point.”

“I’m totally open to it”

Conversely, Charithra indicated she would be up for coming back after Bridgerton season three. In the second season of the Regency-era show, she starred as Edwina Sharma who was involved in a love triangle with Viscount Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and her sister Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley).

“For sure,” Charithra said of a return to what she called the “Bridger-verse”. “Characters will come in and out, I’m certain. And I’m open to it. I think the main thing is it’s got to be a really important purpose.” She added: “I’m totally open to it. I think it is very likely that characters who have left will come back long may the show continue.”

How to Date Billy Walsh is streaming on Prime Video on Friday 5 April